Skip to main content

tv   African Americans Disabled Soldiers and Combat Medical Care  CSPAN  October 24, 2015 8:20am-10:01am EDT

8:20 am
or new lovers of liberty? the answer -- it will hang in the balance to the months and years, for there is still a long way to go in the last battle, a long way. while men of goodwill everywhere face the challenge to shape a world in which each nation's upcoming generation can walk with hope and confidence, the paths of peace and strive to meet the responsibilities and preserve the victories won by fighting men of the united nations, the hard way, and establish once and for all that even stronger than the atomic bomb is the human heart. ♪
8:21 am
>> next from american history tv from the u.s. naval academy and annapolis, marginalized aspects of the american revolution. includes covered african-american, disabled soldiers, and combat metal character does 90-minute program includes many anecdotes and illustrations of what life was like during the revolutionary war for these marginalized groups. >> good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the third panel today of the naval history symposium for 2015. my name is lee pennington. i am an associate professor of history here the naval academy.
8:22 am
my field of research is japanese history, but what i specifically write about is japanese military medicine and the experiences of japanese wounded soldiers and disabled veterans. our panel today has two papers about medicine, another paper about experiences of african americans in naval affairs, and the panel's title is from the margins, african-americans, disabled soldiers, and combat medical care. we have three presenters today, , -- topher mckee our first presentation will be christopher mckee, who is giving a presentation titled no arms, no problems, the surprising and somewhat scandalous life of a disabled 19th-century sailor. christopher mckee is the professor emeritus at grinnell college and since 2012 has been a scholar in residence at the newberry library located in chicago. he is the author of a number of
8:23 am
books, including a naval biography, which first appeared in 1972, a gentlemanly and honorable profession, the creation of the u.s. naval officer corps, 1794-1815, which was published in 1991, and sailor lives in the royal navy, 1900-1945, which was published by harvard university press in 2002. chris also have a number of articles and essays, and his current research centers on the comparative study of enlisted men in the u.s. and british navies. without further ado, christopher mckee. prof. mckee: thank you so much. i will watch the clock at the back and time myself.
8:24 am
as some of you know, i have been working on a project to find real sailors. a lot of history has been written about enlisted men in the navy in the 19th century based on biographies of dubious , veracity, and great saila bility. i have been trying to track the expense of real enlisted men in the navy. due to time constraints, i can't really explain what that naval home is. that would take us off on a side track. in any event, i'm very doubtful about all of those great
8:25 am
autobiographies from the -- and all these adventures they relate and so forth. the story i am about to tell you, i read this, but i wouldn't have believed it. everybody, i'm going to tell you, can be tied back to a document. everything really happened. i can shake the document it is linked to. it concerns a young man born in london, dennis, 24 years old when he came to the united states in june of 1847. he was an experienced sailor, so when he enlisted at princeton he was given a fairly responsible job at the rank of seaman. so we know he was an experienced sailor already. an expatriate russian nobleman,
8:26 am
count anatoly demidov, visited princeton, and the captain fired 13 men saluting his honor when he left the ship. on the 11th gun of the 13 gun salute, a misfire on the gun that dennis was manning and blew off his arms below the elbow. ok, there is the princeton. that is a picture of count demidov up in the corner. count demidov was upset and sent members of his entourage to try to have prosthetic arms created for dennis both in london and paris.
8:27 am
they were heavy and awkward and did not work, and he was unhappy with them. dennis kept trying to rejoin the princeton. he actually somehow seems to miss the next port, traveling with count demidov. were living on count demidov's estate in italy. he did rejoin the princeton in time to return to the united states in 1847. because he was disabled, he was admitted into the united states naval home, then called the united states naval home. asylum. he did not stay there long because since he had no arms he , he had to have a full-time attendant to feed him and he was moved to the hospital, the same building as the naval home in philadelphia. he lasted about two months there
8:28 am
and then moved to a boarding house in philadelphia. i should have mentioned earlier that in addition to sending him around to find prosthetic arms, demidov settled an annuity of $80 a year on him. i know this is meaningless to us in terms of their purchasing power, but it was an annual payment of $80 a year. he had his back pay and federal pension for his injury, and he had the money from count demidov, so he moved into a boarding house in philadelphia. the pension was $6 a month. he felt an armless man can't live on $6 a month. by january of 1850, dennis has relocated himself to washington, d.c., where he petitions congress, he cites the presidents of the war of 1812 --
8:29 am
the precedents of the war of 1812, to be given a pension of $30 a month. he says, i was by this act blasted in a moment of all future prospects, few can appreciate my gloomy feeling and despond to see. i quote this as evidence that you can't trust pension applications. they make it sound as helpless as this suggest. commerce gives him a lifetime pension of $30 a month. in later years, that's raised to $50 a month, then $72 a month, then 1889 to $100 a month. meanwhile, he still has his money from count demidov. is he feeling sorry for himself? not at all. by july of 1850, he's married to a woman from pennsylvania, and
8:30 am
sarah from lehigh, pennsylvania and we assume they met in philadelphia at the boarding house where he was staying. we guess, we don't know. 1884, four years later, he has become naturalized as a u.s. citizen because this is a prerequisite for being employed by the federal government. when the 1860 census taker comes around, he finds that sarah and, have two children, thomas is working as a watchman -- sorry, that is the naval home in philadelphia. he is working as a watchman in the washington navy yard. he still has his pension. he is getting paid to be a watchman, pension, money from count demidov. that is his only job. he also works with newspaper
8:31 am
, he collects rent for property owners in the navy yard. he has a livery stable on capitol hill. and he owns two small frame houses near the navy yard. this is not bad. this is less than 10 years after he is injured. his neighbors know him as a good-looking man, about 65 inches tall, blue eyes, light complexion. he has a great personality. he has a very outgoing, friendly personality. people like him. they think of them as an honest, hard-working man. he is a strong temperance advocate. he is really respected for having overcome a severe disability. then, on the fifth of october, his neighbors find out that he may be something more than this. he was a confidence man. the previous night, someone who knew him and run into dennis at
8:32 am
the washington railway station, where dennis tells him he's going to take a train to new york. at this point, his creditors begin comparing notes and discover that he has borrowed upwards of $10,000 from different people over the last several years. he used it to speculate in gold. eeanwhile, he is no fool -- h has already transfer the two houses on g street to some third party to protect them from being seized. the rumor is that he's going to new york and taking a steamer to york. we don't know what he really did. 11 months later, he turns up again in washington, where he is interviewed by a "washington star" reporter. this guy gets a lot of media coverage. he says he has been in pennsylvania, but not the whole time. he does not say where else he has been ver.
8:33 am
no problem about the debt, only $6,000. i will repay every penny of it. he returns to his old job of selling newspaper advertising, but like a lot of promises, the promise to repay his creditors doesn't quite work out. he decides to take advantage of the bankruptcy act of 1867 and , and the court records show he actually owed $8,243, which was reduced to $6722. my lawyer daughter can't figure out why the drop. but anyway, he takes advantage of the bankruptcy act, that cleans off all his debts. he makes a fresh start in life. between 1869 in 1877, he works as a watchman at the treasury
8:34 am
department. he has got to be close to the money, right? he has an annual salary of $720 a year, plus his pension, less plus his annuity from count demidov. they have added two more children to the family, and have had a child who has died in between. dennis stays out of trouble for about a decade. 1878, ninth of september, the "washington evening star" has a story about a messy real estate transaction, which i won't attempt to unravel, involving the dennis livery stable on capitol hill on 3rd street. that is now operating by his anatoli.nnis' son, that is out of the reach of thomas dennis' creditors. at the end of the story, there is an interesting note, the star reports that, dennis has left
8:35 am
the city for fairview, maryland. "the story of having his run away with a large amount of money and a woman not his wife it is believed is without foundation." i can't tell you about the large sum of money, but i continued can tell you that the rest of the story about running away with the woman is all too true. in january, 1879, dennis arrives in my hometown of chicago, and then on the eighth of july a child, george edward dennis, is born in chicago to, and a woman named francis dennis. there is no francis dennis legally at this point. this woman is a native of virginia, 34 years younger than thomas.
8:36 am
she became pregnant probably in october or november of 1878, and then about this time, the real mrs. dennis, sarah, returns to her hometown of allentown, pennsylvania, presumably to live with relatives, and she conveniently dies there about a year later. that means that thomas and sarah can now get legal. they are in chicago. they do not want to much attention drawn to this, so they hop the train to milwaukee, where they are married in the chapel of all saints episcopal cathedral by the dean at the cathedral. from 1879 until 1893, thomas and francis continue to live in chicago, have no more children, george edward is their only child. and thomas tells the census taker in 1880 that his occupation is a speculator.
8:37 am
the real fact is he works as a watchman and then later the federal customs house in chicago. federal courthouse and federal customs house, we have a great tradition in chicago, if it is a beautiful and important building, we tear it down. that is not there anymore. it has been replaced by a steel skyscraper. he has a job as a watchman in that building. in 1893, he gets caught in a downsizing in the customs house, and this gives him another chance. this guy has great skills, he is a real survivor, great skills at getting to know the right people. it turns out that walter q. gresham, you get extra credit if you know who he is. walter q. gresham is a judge on the federal circuit court of illinois, but in the first cleveland administration,
8:38 am
cleveland appoints him as secretary of state. he dies after two years in office, so he does not have a major impact on our diplomatic history. obviously, thomas dennis has cultivated the judge, so when he the judge gets appointed secretary of state, thomas is able to land a job as a watchman at the state war and navy building in washington, which he continues to hold. this job pays $720 a year, his pension is now $1200 a year, he has still got his money from count demidov. they are not rich, but they are certainly not a poverty couple.
8:39 am
by this time, -- i'm sorry, they have decided to move back to washington, d.c. after all the scandal, old news now, everybody has forgotten about it, it is 12 years later, and they moved back. in fact, by now, dennis has become something of a media personality in washington. the newspaper stories feature him as a federal employee who has overcome a severe disability. he has prostatic arms now that worked pretty well for him. the newspaper reporters like him. he demonstrates his new prosthetic hands, picking up papers for his daily work, uses his elbow to call the elevator in the building. he picks up a glass of water with his teeth and drinks it without spilling it. [laughter] and he signs his name by holding a pen in his teeth. i've seen his signature. it is really pretty amazing.
8:40 am
and a little-known fact of american history, by this time, theodore roosevelt is assistant secretary of the navy in the mckinley administration, as an advocate of strenuous life, he rides his bicycle to work every day in washington, so you can imagine the number two person in the department today writing his bike to work. but anyway, when he gets to the building, he gives the bike to dennis to put away for the day. so he and roosevelt get to know each other, and it turns out that such share the same birthday, the 27th of february, so once mckinley is fascinated assassinated and teddy becomes president, and every year at the annual soirée for his birthday at the white house, thomas is there is an honored guest.
8:41 am
i should say at this point, you might want to know what this guy looks like. that's what teddy looked like, when he was secretary in the navy, but there is thomas dennis in one of the washington papers at the time. that is quite exciting. he is working until 1902, 81 years old, and then he decides to retire and live on his pension and a pot of saved money. money sticks to his hands. where does he get? he always manages to collect it somehow. he tells the "evening star," in another newspaper story, he plans to just live his
8:42 am
retirement and live to be 100. that the sad part of the story. he doesn't get to live to be 100. in 1904, he displays signs of dementia and declines slowly and dies on the 23rd of july, 1908, 85 years old. a little more than 85 -- 86 or 87 years old. he is buried and washington congressional cemetery, drumroll please. there is his tomb. obviously, there is some money somewhere because this is not a cheap tombstone and the final touch -- he had not forgotten the naval origins of his life. this is the anchor on top of the tomb. that is his story. it was a pretty amazing story of one real sailor, and if i could not document it, i wouldn't believe it. thank you all very much. [applause]
8:43 am
we can get me out of my e-mail later. pennington: thank you very much, chris. let me just close this. switch to our next speaker. we will have questions for all three of the speakers at the end of the panel. we will wait for just a little bit. our second speaker is deborah jackson, who will speak on a black sailor's prospects on board the uss mount vernon. deborah jackson is an independent scholar and administrator at the metropolitan museum of art in new york city and has published her scholarship in a number of venues, including the virginia magazine of history and biography, new york history and african-american national biography. her current research explores how inland waterway systems in the south supported slavery in
8:44 am
antebellum america. she has an essay on this topic that will be appearing in the published volume of papers from the previous mcmullen naval history symposium from 2013. deborah jackson. >> we will hand you the magic wand. ms. jackson: thank you. thank you, professor pennington, for that very nice intro. it is great to be back at annapolis. my talk this afternoon will be
8:45 am
on this young seaman who served on board the uss mount vernon. blacks have a long, proud history in the military. this is a headline from a florida newspaper in february, 2001. "indeed, black military participation predated the forming of the nation, a neglected fact of u.s. history that was repeatedly reclaimed and asserted by african-americans from the earliest days of the republic." black bostonian william cooper from an 1855 publication, the colored patriots of the revolution, was another reminder of the black military presence and its consistent and vital role in the nation's development. at the outbreak of the civil war, the nation required another reminder of the military readiness of black men, and although the u.s. army allowed large-scale black enlisted in
8:46 am
segregated units by 1863, the u.s. navy had no such an racial restrictions. as they had done since the days of the continental navy, black sailors during the civil war, some 25% of the union naval force, black sailors served along side their white counterparts in defeating the confederacy. i show you here the image from the uss miami, circa 1864, these are views of the servicemen of ssippe. also e. -- ossipee. eight black men served the union and were awarded the medal of honor during the civil war. despite the record of service, as the 19th century waned, they were increasingly obliged to assume positions of stewards,
8:47 am
and other service roles. one naval historian has observed that the proportion of blacks enlisted as mariner as their occupation decreased to 5.9% in 1890. among those who enlisted in the navy. the time that began with "the first world war saw the negro as a member of the navy" wrote another scholar at the end of world war ii. even with their opportunities in the service restricted at the time of the great war, black men in this did and excelled in the face of adversity. those achievements were reported in a publication titled the "american negro in the world war." scott's book was published in 1919, and it reproduced correspondence from top officials of the american expeditionary forces and was generously illustrated to document the successes of black military personnel, and as a special adjunct to newton baker, secretary of war newton baker, scott was uniquely positioned to
8:48 am
collect the raw data for such by them, which included a wealth of statistics on the strength of the ready response of negro draftees to the selective service calls, as scott put it. this bottom slide shows dr. scott with members of his staff in his d.c. office. scott made a point of noting in his preface that 400,000 or more black men entered active military service. one of those 400,000 men was edward donahue pearson junior, a 19-year-old who served aboard the uss mount vernon, which was a troop transport that regularly crossed the atlantic often and did duty in the waters between the english channel and the bay of biscay. pearson was wounded after the ship was damaged by a german u-boat on the fifth of
8:49 am
september, 1918, the french government awarded pearson the war cross for his actions on behalf of his ship following the explosion. this paper will explore some aspects of the life and times of edward pearson and the world he knew at home and houston and seaman aboard the mount vernon. edward donahue pearson junior was born in 1899, the youngest of the three children of edward donahue pearson of louisiana, edward senior, and elizabeth of spiers of south carolina. edward senior was an educated man with a degree from bishop college and marshall, texas. at the time of young edwards' enlistment, his father was a teacher at the high school in houston a newspaper editor, an officer for the western star publishing company. pearson senior would have enjoyed a fair amount of influence in houston's black community as a member of the knights of pythias, one of the wealthiest black fraternal orders of the time. and as a deacon of the antioch baptist church. pearson senior was also a property owner and president of
8:50 am
the houston chapter of the negro business league, the national organization of booker t. washington. pearson's association with washington's organization meant he was likely a registered voter. this is significant as the disenfranchisement of black men had been proceeding systemically throughout the south since the late 19th century, and here is washington second from left with the members of his executive committee. so pearson senior and his family enjoyed the kind of respectable, prosperous life that washington had espoused in his ideology of black uplift, which favored engagement and professional activities that offered examples to white america of negro prosperity. so why does any of this matter? why am i telling you this? i would argue that this family background tells us several
8:51 am
things about the 19-year-old pearson. we know first that he was a relatively educated southerner at a time when adult literacy rates were uneven across the south and lag behind rates in northern states. also, young edward and his family seemed content to remain in the south, unlike tens of thousands of black families that had been on the move north since the turn of the 20 century. one might also infer that pearson junior was a well spoken young man, having had the benefit of growing up in a household where his father no doubt entertainment business associates, probably including the influential washington. and where he was privy to discussions of politics and other news of the day. from his draft registration card, we might further suggest that he had some measure of self-confidence and an entrepreneurial spirits. he told a recruiting officer that he was self-employed and works at as a chauffeur using a
8:52 am
rented car. so what about houston's view of the world outside his family circle in houston during the the declaration of war in april of 1917 until the time of his enlistment? did he perhaps hear patriotic sermons as he sat in his appeal at antioch? where there were meetings convened a black churches in houston of the type convened in northern churches during the civil war? i tried to imagine what this global conflict meant for this young man. newspapers obviously paid a played a large role in conveying information about the war, that but there was a huge media blitz as americans used every available means -- print, sound, film, lectures, performances to bolster the war effort. from the colorful lyrics and catchy war-related tunes to the
8:53 am
dissemination of enlistment propaganda and often heavily anti-german propaganda issued by the committee on public information. the nation was saturated with a hyper patriotism that young edward undoubtedly followed in his community. african americans supported president wilson without reservation. this was a fact borne out in the assessment of scott when he said "ready response of negro draftees to the selective service calls together with the numerous patriotic activities of negroes generally." this slide i show you not just to suggest pearson junior knew these specific images. i just offer them as a wa to give you a sense of how recruiters targeted the black community. indeed, black draftees during the great war represented 13% of those serving, although blacks constituted only 10% of the
8:54 am
population. it is of course difficult to know to what extent any part of the media campaign resonated with pearson or what motivated him to choose the navy over the army. but surely the much publicized racial incident in his hometown would have garnered his attention and no doubt left a chilling effect. in august, 1917, 13 black soldiers were tried and hanged following a violent conflict with white civilians. these are soldiers from the 24th infantry third battalion that was stationed in houston. so pearson chose the navy and was assigned to the mount vernon and served most likely as a mess attendant, cook, or steward within the mess branch. the mount vernon was one of about three dozen german ships that had been appropriated by the united states at the time of the declaration of war and repaired and refitted for
8:55 am
service. and at the top, you will see the german luxury liner at bar harbor in 1914, and then below this one after it was appropriate by the u.s. navy, repainted in its dazzled camouflage design. i will say just a bit about dazzle or camouflage design just to remind the room of what this meant, what this program meant to the u.s. navy and to its allies. as german u-boats attacked allied ships in the atlantic, norman wilkinson looked at these events and had a brilliant idea. he was an officer in the room royal navy. he reasoned that since it was impossible to paint a ship so that it would be invisible to a submarine, it was possible to
8:56 am
paint it in a way that would break up the form of the ship, and thus confuse the submarine officer as to the course on which the ship was heading. so in this first slide, you see painters in a workshop painting and actually building the models in which they tested these designs. this is a dazzled design for the hmt olympic, and the hmt olympic newly painted according to that design. this is the uss everglades, and you get the idea. dazzle schemes are all about deception and outmaneuvering the enemy and saving lives if possible. an obvious question is -- how effective was the dazzle program in protecting american ships against u-boat attacks? of the 1250 ships that were dazzled as of march 1918, only 18 were lost.
8:57 am
sunk in 18, 4 were accidents, three destroyed by mines, therefore less than 1% of u.s. dazzled ships were sunk. some scholars argue that the effectiveness of the decile scheme could be seen in the number of ships that, although hit, were nonetheless able to return to the reports safely, and indeed this was true of the mount vernon, which safely docked under its own steam after being torpedoed, as we will see in a moment. so what was it like living and working on the mount vernon? while in port, the ship's log reveals the regular loading of supplies and food in great quantities. and the regular transfer of personnel. with so many men and crowded quarters, it's not surprising to learn that tempers flared and men spun out of control. the log entries for the time shortly after the ship was put into service note that there were several court marshals
8:58 am
aboard the ship. the mount vernon was one of the fastest troop transports in the service, and she had much to do with the tens of thousands of men that needed transport back and forth across the atlantic. ap account by a reporter aboard one of the 13th transports to carry 36,000 men to france in august of 1918, we get a vivid sketch of the scene on board. "soldiers packed the decks, in were thick as flies in every cabin, hatch, and between decks, wound to the bowels of the ship. the spacious promenade deck and disappeared, and its place work were long lines of mental hammocks for the men to sleep in the open on deck, as well as between decks." this correspondence is rare in that it takes note of one of the african-american mess men working in the kitchen galley, and he observed, "this was a
8:59 am
meatless day for civilians, but one offered us a taste of the meat curry, which what have done credit to a paris chef." perhaps he thought it might entertain his white readership. i speculate on the omission of in thepearson's role aftermath of the attack on mount vernon in 1918. in all the reports of the incident, none mention edward pearson, whose actions earned him the highest award by the french government. while on his return to the u.s. and still about 200 miles of the coast of france, the mount burto vernon was struck by a german u-boat on it starboard side. and 35 sailors,
9:00 am
primarily members of the fire room room, were killed in the explosion. although damaged, the mount vernon was able to reach port, ran under its own steam, and senator james hamilton lewis of illinois, as well as a number of army officers and 100 wounded soldiers. by the way, that slide shows the mount vernon on its own power and one of her escorts is laying a smokescreen. while the reports of the captain and his senior officers praised the entire crew, the captain single that the under deck men for special appreciation and declared his admiration for the brave men of the engineers force. the council singled out the deck men for special appreciation.
9:01 am
the ships log never mentions pearson by name, although many references were made to unnamed men, many of them off-duty, who aided their shipmates by working at the bulkheads to hold back tons of water. the log notes many unnamed men who assisted the dozens of wounded and ill soldiers. the wounded pearson was presumably settled in hospital abreast while he recovered. he had no official recognition from his captain our country, -- or country, nonetheless received the croix de guerre from a grateful french government. earlier this year, i watched the white house ceremony at which president obama posthumously awarded the medal of honor for two world war i soldiers, off the docket breast, where mount vernon was safely arrived. croix de guerre. that is private johnson on the
9:02 am
left. he was a member of the famed harlem hellfighters. in the president's remarks on june 2, he observed that it is never too late for america to honor its heroes. i find that sentiment hopeful, and look forward to the day when records may reveal reports on the specific actions of seaman pearson and those like him, and that they might one day receive their government's recognition as heroes. one final slide -- this is sergeant major lewis wilson accepting the medal of honor on behalf of private johnson, and the daughters of sergeant sherman. thank you. [applause]
9:03 am
>> we are going to get the vigils ready for our third speaker today. >> i had ahead note here -- for >> for those who would like to become a naval surgeon, this is the matrix of some of the areas that will be looked at. on the other side, you can write down questions.
9:04 am
9:05 am
>> the speaker today is dennis ringle, a retired commander of the u.s. navy. after 22 years of service on five ships -- i remember reading that in the profile information -- he also put in some devil duty, as a teacher, both at a high school level and the community college level. he is the author of the 2008 book "life in mr. lincoln's navy," and his current work is an edited volume of letters of the journal of thomas c dudley, a member of matthew perry's trip to japan in the early to mid-1850's, which helped to open up a squadron of black ships that helped to open up japan to the western world. >> if you need to take a
9:06 am
head or bathroom break, the head is located down the hallway and outside. please notice there is no toilet paper but there is plenty of fresh air and sunshine. [laughter] >> and with that we will begin. compliments to the hms endeavor. my paper deals with both combat experiences and emergency medical treatment of these men following battle during the age of sail. due to time constraints i will focus primarily on the medical aspects the naval surgeons treating these wounded sailors. i would like to first notice that the majority of the navy ships for this period, 90% of the crew were enlisted. january, 1991, the stillness of the night was broken by a whoosh
9:07 am
and a flash as a tomahawk cruise missile left the battleship uss wisconsin. simultaneously, the surface of the red sea was broken by another tomahawk cruise missile fired from the submarine uss louisville. also on two aircraft carriers, a number of young sailors prepared to attack the military forces of saddam hussein. desert shield had turned into desert storm. the united states was in another war. a technological war, primarily fought by young sailors, who had received the best training in the world. boot camp, fleet training. but what about the sailors of
9:08 am
the early age of sail and steed? what about their training and their courage under fire? far different from those in 1991. first, and navy ship back in this remote time was manned by sailors recruited by the commanding officers. they did not have personnel assigning people to ships. in the landmark book in social reform movement, dr. harriet langley addresses some of the scruples for which they recruited officers and i refer you to that book, which mentions the different ways the commanding officers manned their ships. in addition, the crew had to go through a medical physical. the navy during this period of time had to make sure that you
9:09 am
recruit none other than hardy, robust, well engaged men, well-organized, healthy and free from scurvy or consumptive effects, illnesses of the lu ng. that was your medical exam, far different than today. training guidelines -- there were no manuals in the early navy. as a matter of fact, in 1797, the first naval regulation did not even address training. in 1814, the new naval regulations had 57 individual responsibilities of the commanding officer, of which only four address training. on the job training is the way
9:10 am
the sailors learned their trade. weapon systems of the day. unlike the army, where soldiers had to face bullets, or perhaps a projectile fired from a six or 10 pound cannon, sailors had to face 32 pounds, bar shot, keen shot, grate shot. they manned cannons that weight ighed over 2000 pounds.
9:11 am
this is a crew from the uss constellation in baltimore. spherical k shot, round shot, solid shot. great shot. round balls, three inches in diameter, fired at the crew. the great guns that i alluded to weighed as much as 3000 pounds.
9:12 am
that can injure anywhere from 11 to 14 sailors. one sailor wrote that on his ship, his division had 27 separate commands, while another division had only three. fire, load, run out. well trained navy crew could fire their cannons one round approximately 75 seconds. various ordinances the men faced, spherical shot, solid shot, later shells as large as 100 pounds. they also had wooden splinters 12 feet in diameter spiraling into the ship when the cannonball pierced beside,
9:13 am
striking down men. in addition, they had to worry about mines later in the century, plus the fact that with the addition of steam, a pipe would break, and they would be scolded to death. they also had to worry about fire in flooding. -- fire and flooding. the medical community of this period. emergency medical treatment at sea. the medical arm was very successfu -- was a very
9:14 am
successful part of our sea service. one man would have had three surgeons assigned, a far greater ratio than what the army would ask aryans during the civil -- the army would experience during the civil war. medical treatment was based on years of observation, and most importantly, strict medical qualifications. i refer you to the handout. a naval surgeon had to be a graduate of one of the handful of existing medical schools. he had to pass a written exam, had to be physically qualified, and then he had to pass an oral board, which consisted of three naval surgeons.
9:15 am
the oral board would evaluate the candidates for morale and habits. he would be given a literary test, primarily as a result of his ability to maintain a journal, a log, and to correspond with his superiors, especially the commanding officer. he had to know greek and latin. most of the medicines of the day were written in latin or greek. his professional knowledge, he was quizzed on anatomy, chemistry, surgery, pharmacology, general medicine, and jurisprudence. his at sea responsibilities consisted of boarding sick call, examining the sick and wounded. he would then possibly be
9:16 am
required to cut or bleed or change a dressing. in the early days, they still bled sailors. he would have to write prescriptions and administer drugs, maintain a medical log, journal entries. prepare medicines -- this was in an era before pharmacology, so he would begin in a quantity of drugs and then he would have to ration them to make up the medications for the day. prepare the list of those sailors that were excused from duty for that day. a copy would then be submitted to the commanding officer, another posted at the pinnacle
9:17 am
or where the wheel was, so everyone could see which sailors were excused from duty. that is a tradition we still do today. other duties -- take muster. in a lot of cases, take muster. in a lot of cases he was the preacher for the day. he sat in on court-martial boards, maintained a weather journal, and had to attend social functions. general quarters were the real reason he was on board ship. during a time of combat, he operated in an area of the ship that was permitted to say the least, his working conditions. cramped and below the waterline with low air.
9:18 am
illumination was by flickering candle. very poor ventilation, if any. you had the movement of the ship working on a moving platform trying to perform surgery. the noise of battle, the smell of smoke. it was truly a dantes "inferno." of the injuries in battle -- amputation required most skill and mental anguish. i will then talk about amputation procedures during the age of early steed. there was an emotional decision by the surgeon, realizing that
9:19 am
the removal of an appendage meant that the man would go through the rest of his life as a cripple. amputation was only decided upon to save the sailor's life. when an incision was made, he would have to surgeons hold the patient down. the majority of amputations, the sailor was awake. a third person would hold the limb down. in the case i am about to explain, it would be an amputation of a leg halfway up the thigh. quetteld apply a turnin as high up as he could to stem the low of flow of blood. he would try to save as much skin as possible. he would make a circular cut and
9:20 am
the skin, hold it back. from this point he would then take a scalpel or curved knife, cutting in a circular fashion once again, just above the wound, down to the bone. you now have got losing blood, a patient that is moving, and probably screaming. at this point, he would place a knife on the table or perhaps closer to his team to pick up the bone saw. he would start with the heel of the bone, the heel of the saw, on the bone and slowly draw back towards himself, making slow cuts back and forth until the bone was severed. if the bones splintered, he would take out a file and file down the bone. after this, he now has exposed arteries, where he would now
9:21 am
clamp them off, and then tie them off with sutures. then take this skin down, full -- folded that over the wound, creating a sticky plaster over it to hold the skin in place. he would then place over that, bandages made of flannel or lint, allowing the patient to recover for several days. one of the most remarkable examples occurred during the battle between hms vierier and the uss constitution during the
9:22 am
war of 1812. a sailor by the name of richard an upper thigh wound. the surgeon, dr. amos evans, describes the amputation process. what is most interesting is the amputation treatment of the wound. he removed the dressing, noticing that there is some pus on the wound. he puts sand into the wound. i talked to some doctors and medical people of the day -- was he trying to clean the wound? i was informed that he may have, or he may have been using the
9:23 am
sand to absorb the pus, and perhaps losing blood. but perhaps also he had seen or read that the application of sand helps stimulate tissue growth. today, we use silica, of which send as a part of, to help stimulate tissue growth in and amputees. 200 years ago. evans would further write that the wound eventually would heal, and the sailor would eventually be discharged with a pension from the navy. another surgeon, 20 years later, wrote about a foot amputations still used in the same circular motion that evans utilized, but
9:24 am
this time after the foot had been removed and the stump had been sutured and covered, he gave the patient one gram of morphine with water every half hour for pain. evans prescribed wine for his patient. he did not have morphine on board. the surgeon, after several days, noticed that the wound was healing, however it gave off an "offensive odor." when changing the dressing, there were maggots present. the maggots were eating this loft off skin and were left to continue to clean the wound. the sailor did survive. the same surgeon performed surgery on a sailor that received a sort of cutlass wound cutlass wound
9:25 am
in the upper thigh. he was having a hard time controlling the bleeding so he took a cork from a bottle, place it in the wound, wrapped a turn tourniquet around it. this sailor, he left the ship with a limp. compound fractures. you have a bone broken through the skin. one surgeon wrote his preferred treatment was to push the bone matter back inside the skin, wrap it tightly, place it in a splint, place the leg on a pillow, until the person healed. overall, the sailors received remarkable care for the period.
9:26 am
the naval medical service was very successful, and we owe an awful lot to them. in summary, these heroic men who served in the navy during the age of sail established a remarkable record of vital protection for our merchant fleet. on the eve of the american civil war, these sailors and medical service corps provided a well-trained nucleus from watch -- from which the union navy was able to build upon. thank you, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] >> thank you very much. i would like to invite all of our speakers today to join us at the front. we will have time for some q&a,
9:27 am
after i make some comments from the speakers. and unpack these really interesting papers. i'm going to address my comments one by one to the three presenters. there are some questions, but i believe them until after i finish my comments for them to address them. but i also want to open up questions to the floor so we can hear what the audience has to say about these presentations. with that said, the first paper i will turn to is by chris mckee, who i think does a very excellent job of charting the past of an injured sailor, a disabled veteran, con man, and a dignitary favored by teddy roosevelt. he didn't always certainly seem to land on his feet, or he did when confronted with adversity. as i read his paper and it was quite amusing to hear about the ups and downs of the scandalous individual.
9:28 am
what i would have liked to hear more about is the general state of disabled veterans affairs in united states, during a rather long but a quite consequential period of time from 1840 to 1900 or thereabouts. what sorts of services exist in the 1850's? he was injured in 1847. it is important to clarify that when it comes to his injuries, he did not suffer a war wound. it would have been a service related injury, but oftentimes they apply different types of benefits and pensions depending on the disposition of the wound. this is a sailor who becomes an americans of the citizen. where there have been different pensions and benefits in place for men with service related
9:29 am
injuries as opposed to a war wound? you note in your paper and the presentation that congress had granted him a pension, but was this standard at that time for injured sailors, or did a result from the spectacular incident that created the injury. a number of political dignitaries were killed in that event. in sum, during the mid to late 1800s, how committed was the u.s. government to improving the financial, the physical, and perhaps the spiritual well-being of its injured serviceman? a little more context would have helped me to frame the life of this rather scandalous individual, to plot him a bit more firmly in this period from the 1840's to 1900. in the middle of that period, i can't help but think of the civil war, which we know was a rather consequential, momentous event, and it seems that for
9:30 am
dennis, much of his life spent as a disabled veteran was lived in the wake of the civil war. i am wondering if any of the new policies that might have been what the light or did it. -- what apply to dennis. what a big grandfather do new policy. question is, if you could give us more information that plots dennis's story would be disabled veterans at large. ? it was nice to learn about the individual and his experiences and he had an exceptional life. i am glad he survived this horrible injury. to open up the context a bit more. something i would have liked to
9:31 am
seen any presentation. before that, i want to turn to debbie's paper. i learned much form -- from her well structured study of edward pearson and the story of the uss mount vernon. it was a wealth of information and her paper raises an important question. this is something i have looked at in my work on disabled veterans and wounded serviceman. in the wake of the war, how do we honor the actions of heroes without historical voices? as was the case with edward pearson, who was praised by the french in this instance but not so much by u.s. navy. this is a heroic individual and he is deserving of praise and
9:32 am
comment in the historical record. as historians or people who have lived through wars and any post war world, what are we to make of the people who have their voices lost during these that, as, related to question for debbie, when it comes to the biographical information of him, which i appreciate hearing about his background, he was well educated , a little bit more about the sources of that information, is this coming from the community, is this information publicized after he became a noted individual because of the recognition by the french. ? in the course of a presentation, more about the sources is something i would have appreciated. i would be interested to hear more about your experiences as a researcher as you study him and helps to provide a voice to him
9:33 am
and to present his experiences. it is interesting to hear about this person who seems a casualty of history. i would like to hear more about that. with that, i would like to have you think about plausible theorizing as to any factors other than the dire straits of being on board the mount vernon that may have led to pearson's heroic activity. was he a sailor who was just doing his duty? do you think key elements of his background, he was well educated, confident, was there something in his background that determined his mental -- metal? the record may not demonstrate that but i would like to hear your thoughts. i would like to learn more about the ships.
9:34 am
i want to focus on the individuals. maybe we will have a few moments to hear more about that. i have never heard of them. british toglish or think the word dazzle. i do not think that is something the u.s. navy would have adopted without help from our friends from overseas. our third presentation by dennis provided a great amount of telling detail when it comes to the training and practical amputation techniques that will required of naval surgeons during the early 19th-century time. i have read a longer version of the paper. some of the detail in that was not in the presentation, the gore was still there. is healthyt of gore or patriotic. surgeons of the day were
9:35 am
responsible for a wide range of medical and nonmedical duties. this made them essential ship personnel. the ship was a tough environment, moving, and the surgeons need to be highly skilled in order to be effective. this was pre-antisepsis. it had not yet emerged. these are things, when we are considering medicine in the past, we had -- have to take them seriously and the conditions of the day are something we are not from the red. i like that you incorporated the experiences of the surgeon evans and i have seen a longer version of the paper but am wondering if any of the records at large exist about naval medical
9:36 am
personnel for their entire career. could you give us a sense, if you know, of what a naval surgeon's journal of the early 1800s would look like? what is be a list of actions and activities? or would they list their bona fides? detail onit of the the sources i would appreciate hearing. medical traditions are another thing, i am guessing that the u.s. naval forces all of the patterns of u.s. naval surgery. such was the case later in the 19th-century when japan developed its modern navy, it chose a medical system that it saw fit or the navy and picked british medicine. they consider german medicine and that informs the japanese
9:37 am
imperial army medicine. the different branches embrace different medical traditions. guessing, and you would have to unpack this for me, that american naval surgeons also embraced british medical practices. statistical information -- aside from the journals, are there historical sources, such as casualty reports that we could report to when we study the history of medicine. would these be available or helping us to form a wider perspective on early 19th-century naval medicine? other sources i would be interested to hear about. i thought that all three of the presentations were thoughtfully arranged and nicely organized. i have these questions and perhaps we could hear responses first. i would like to open up the floor to the audience so they can talk about the papers and
9:38 am
begin here thoughtful questions -- and we could hear topple questions -- thoughtful questions. >> i am constrained by 20 minutes, i could give much more background. here is a five-minute summary of minutes.aw in three if you were injured or wounded, you are automatically entitled to a pension depending on the of disability. if you -- if your commanding officer was still alive and if the surgeon was so -- was still alive and they filled out the proper paperwork you got the pension automatically from the 80. if they were not -- from the
9:39 am
navy. if the information was not available the only recourse was to answer a private bill from congress. there were a lot of these. the files of the house and senate are filled with these applications for pensions. this was the case because dennis -- it was a percentage of his monthly pay. he wanted more. he had to get a private bill through congress. himad some people helping doing that. there was no distinction between battle wounds and hernias or broken legs or whatever. more andon law got more complex so by the end of the 19th-century you had a thick book. these -- they are
9:40 am
this thick these days. >> debbie, any thoughts on the topics i raised? debbie: i am not certain that lieutenant wilkinson coined that term. i do not have any information about where that word originated. zlezll ogram as known as design or camouflage design. that is something i could look into. wilson's program was adopted by the u.s. navy but originally implement did in britain -- in britain -- implemented in britain. with the designers and model makers. yes, your phrase
9:41 am
plausible theorizing is well taken. i will not say that i played fast and loose with my research and with the archives, but i am still hoping to uncover his service record. in thehave any time office let me know because i have been unable to recover them from the st. louis office. i still have hopes of them saying that they are there. they have not said that they were destroyed in the fire. >> they would not be in st. louis, with a -- what they -- would they? >> yes they would.
9:42 am
still hopeful. it?hey are still working on debbie: they are still working on it. >> the optimism of historians. medicine, medical care. >> the naval station, the naval exhibit ony get an the ships. i remember seeing that. we walked out of there and your eyes were like -- medicine, states, the the united states learn from the british from diseases because a famous treaty was written on scurvy and the royal navy would adopt that as policy by 1790 in
9:43 am
the work of the french revolution -- war of the french revolution. langley informed us before our session that one of the things our doctors did is they went around the world and talked to other surgeons in other countries. not only with the english, i would be safe to say, other surgeons around the world they would learn stuff from. >> what kind of food can you use? all of them were proficient in more than one language, unlike the captains. so they frequently functioned as interpreters as well. [laughter]
9:44 am
records -- the army did a lot better job of collecting and reporting on casualties. --e were in the archives somewhere in the archives, the navy really has not done anything with the reports. i know the naval historical center, they are coming up with stuff. student,ome graduate it would be a great thesis for him. book, is itk difficult to find? >> among some of the surgeons, there was a wide variety of how you kept records so that some surgeons were very careful to put down other than a name, a ranked, the nationality, and the
9:45 am
age. put joe blow. >> and those records were lost. .t is not easy up through the civil war to get a good feeling. business,pension after the mexican war a lot of disease in the mexican war. floodedion office was with information -- questions -- thehe surgeons surgeons would be asked about this particular patients, they said they do not remember this guy particularly. so but theyas so in could not remember the details. >> there are medical journals betweenjority of ships
9:46 am
the end of the war of 1812 and the civil war, not all ships, so you can follow -- >> nobody has sat down and put it all together. >> no, that is the fun of scholarship. student looking for a naval topic. >> quantifying it would be very useful. different ships encounter different climates it i wrote a paper on this once that i never did anything once. >> let's open the floor to questions from the audience. if you could give your name before you post a question and perhaps say where you are from and your interest in these topics. any questions for any of our three presenters?
9:47 am
>> my name is charles. i am one of the editors on a project. i have a question for all three. christopher, in terms of the population. i know you have crunched a lot of numbers. -- werecentage refugees amputees? out and they went there for a variety of regions. -- reasons. entities --age of amputees went to the naval asylum?
9:48 am
-- does pearson are their peers and papers from that -- pearson papers from reflects onat he his world war i service that you came upon? debbie: not that i have seen. i have hopes of discovering a journal of some sort in the future. if i am lucky. papers do exist for his father who was associated with this national organization run by washington. withinay be something those records that have been .'sded into pearson sr letters that reference this son.
9:49 am
that is my next task. it would be a fishing expedition but one never knows. [indiscernible] >> my question is about sources. in terms of, have you come across memoirs that has been , their, with surgeons andriences aboard ships have you weave that into your narrative? i want to hear about the surgical technique. do you find both of those? -- aere is a landmark book
9:50 am
former naval surgeon wrote a surgeonsing new naval how to be a naval surgeon. a betty crocker of how to be enabled surgeon. -- naval surgeon. the other one was a book published in 1836 from samuel cooper, a military surgeon. two volumes about 1000 pages and when he gets into the amputation section, 60 something pages long. workalk about convincing -- condensing work. he would say dr. smith likes to rightshronicle way and 10 or 15 pages about that and goes on to say why he does not prefer that method. .e talks about the circular
9:51 am
it is like the end-all. a dictionary of medical surgeries by cooper, 1836. it is mind-boggling. illustrated?it neat,t is need is -- the american surgeons, his book then thetrations and dictionary does not, the one by cooper. that would have been nice. not only is it 1000 pages but it is small print. found timeow how he to write this and we have a keyboard. i do not know how much ink he went through. you have to see it to believe it. 1813 medicalof a
9:52 am
dictionary and the word inspection is in their. the best one was morphine. drugid it was the wonder and needs no more explanation and that was the definition of morphine in 1813. books,are reading these the are given a treatment, sulfa, iof silver and was having to find -- happy to find the doctor was having the same problem i did. interesting in the order book which did not apply to this topic, the
9:53 am
british allowed women to come on board when they were anchored. the american navy did not do the except horner says in 1828 mediterranean deployment, they experience it with bringing women on board ship in the mediterranean and it was the assistant surgeon's job to inspect the women for sexually transmitted diseases and he wase that the surgeon nearsighted during the inspection. there is tongue-in-cheek in there. pretty neat stuff but finding it and interpreting it. mentioned about digging up stuff from the basement, the last time i was at your command,
9:54 am
they had had just come across a logbook that talked about lincoln visiting the navy yard 50 times during the war including the day he was assassinated. he had visited the navy yard. he should have stayed for one more drink. [laughter] >> other questions for our presenters? pearson in later life? debbie: he marries and has a daughter and in the census of 1930 he is living with his wife and daughter with his parents in chicago. time as aing at that singer, believe it or not.
9:55 am
it is very interesting but a little mysterious. how does he get there? what has been the result of his expenses during the great war? i do not know whether he was able to receive a pension or not. of sergeantsion discovered in the course of some research that he was denied a pension because of some remarks he made to a st. louis newspaper in 1919. he was cut out of the benefits system entirely. a similar fater was suffered by pearson.
9:56 am
>> about the 1940's, he disappeared by then? debbie: i have not gotten that far. >> apply for a short-term fellowship. the family history is very interesting. there could be a wealth of material. if you lived in chicago for very long -- if he lived in chicago for very long. debbie: thank you. >> any other questions or comments? we have been fortunate to have three expert speakers, deborah jackson, christopher mckee come and commander dennis ringel retired. the panel was from the margins. when i think of heroes and the wounded and physicians, those are far from the margins of history.
9:57 am
unfortunately, sometimes they do not get the attention perhaps they deserve any historical record. panel for theast first day of the naval history symposium but i hope to see you here tomorrow morning bright and early. thank you very much. >> dr. pennington of buying the first round. thank you. >> every weekend the c-span networks feature programs on politics, nonfiction books, and american history. at night :00 eastern on c-span, the jefferson jackson dinner live from des moines-i would, speakers include bernie sanders, martin o'malley, and hillary clinton. sunday evening at 6:30, republican presidential candidate carly fiorina will hold a town hall in south carolina. live today at the -- political and 30, on book tv, the
9:58 am
wisconsin book testable from medicine featuring interviews with nonfiction authors including mary noris and her book on the english like which and david marinus on the city of detroit and evan thomas'book being in. -- john danforth on how a sense of religion can lead the country out of the current and bitter state of politics. on american history tv on c-span3. today at 6:00 eastern, cia historian clayton laureate on .spionage during the civil war and why so few historical documents exist here sunday morning at 10:00 on world history's, civil rights leader julian bond passed away in august, in a 2002 interview, growing up in the segregated south and his work with the student nonviolent committee. get our complete we can schedule at c-span.org -- we can schedule at c-span.org. >> all persons having business
9:59 am
before the honorable supreme court should get their attention. president obama: we have not seen a court overturn a law that on anssed i congress economic issue like health care since -- since lochner. legislator can now take away your life and liberty without you process and the court says no, a wonderful decision. >> on c-span's landmark cases, we look a lot better be new york, in 1895, the legislature passed the bait shop act which restricted the working hours of bakery employees to 10 hours what -- per day. joseph lochner violated the law and was fined $50, refusing to pay, he took his case to the supreme court. find out why he is known as one of the most controversial decisions the supreme court has ever made as we explore this case with randy barnett from
10:00 am
georgetown law center and author of a book restoring the lost constitution and a political science review -- vassar at texas state university landmark cases -- live monday on c-span c-span3, and radio. onn american history tv saturday, november 7, four tours and live interviews. we will explore the tank submarine experience, the road to berlin, an african-american story. we will take your questions for historians throughout the day. later,ar ii -- 70 years saturday, november 7, beginning at 11:00 a.m. eastern here

817 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on